Cleaning a keyboard

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Cleaning a keyboard
Cleaning a keyboard

Your computer keyboard gets dirty quickly, especially if you eat or smoke a lot near your keyboard. If a keyboard gets too dirty, it may not work properly. Certain keys get stuck or some characters keep being typed without you doing anything. Here's how to get your keyboard nice and clean again. Note: any warranty may be voided by the methods in this article.


Method 1 of 3: The regular cleaning

Clean a Keyboard Step 1

Step 1. Turn off your computer and disconnect the keyboard cable before cleaning

If you have a USB keyboard, you can unplug the cable from the computer while it's still on. Don't do this if you have an older computer. Then wait until the computer is turned off.

Clean a Keyboard Step 2

Step 2. Turn the keyboard upside down and use a can of compressed air to blow out anything that doesn't belong inside the keyboard

Do this in a place where you can easily clean up the fallen dirt. Turn your keyboard upside down and tap it a few times. Some dirt will probably fall out already. Change the position and tap a little harder to get as much dirt out as possible.

Clean a Keyboard Step 3

Step 3. Clean the sides of the keys with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)

Clean a Keyboard Step 4

Step 4. For a more thorough cleaning, first remove the keys

You do this by gently pushing each key up with a screwdriver or similar object. Once the keys are removed you can blow out the dirt with your aerosol compressed air. Clean all surfaces with a damp, but not too wet cloth. Make sure that no moisture gets into the keyboard.

Clean a Keyboard Step 5

Step 5. Clean the keys one by one and then put them back into the case

Method 2 of 3: If you spilled

Clean a Keyboard Step 6

Step 1. Turn off the computer and disconnect the keyboard from the computer as soon as possible

Clean a Keyboard Step 7

Step 2. Hold the keyboard upside down and shake it up and down

Clean a Keyboard Step 8

Step 3. Dry the keyboard as best you can with a cloth while turning the keyboard upside down

Clean a Keyboard Step 9

Step 4. Hold it upside down for as long as possible

Turn it upside down all night if you want.

Take a sealable container (eg a Tupperware container), fill it with (uncooked) rice, place the keyboard upside down and sprinkle another layer of rice on top. The rice will draw moisture from the keyboard

Method 3 of 3: Alternative method for spills

Clean a Keyboard Step 10

Step 1. Turn off your computer and detach the keyboard

Clean a Keyboard Step 11

Step 2. Turn the keyboard upside down and remove all screws

Clean a Keyboard Step 12

Step 3. Detach the half that the keys are on from the bottom

Set the bottom aside.

Clean a Keyboard Step 13

Step 4. The keyboard may also be jammed

Also check for hidden screws under labels.

Clean a Keyboard Step 14

Step 5. Flip the keys half over, with the bottom of the keys facing up

Press the clips on each key to remove the keys one by one. The space bar is probably secured with a metal clip, which is more difficult to release.

Clean a Keyboard Step 15

Step 6. Fill a container with hot water and mild detergent

Clean a Keyboard Step 16

Step 7. Place the keys in the tray and clean them with a brush

Clean a Keyboard Step 17

Step 8. Remove the keys from the tray and rinse them under running water

Now let the keys dry or dry them with a hair dryer.

Clean a Keyboard Step 18

Step 9. Place the empty top of the keyboard in the tray and clean it with a brush

Clean a Keyboard Step 19

Step 10. When everything is dry you can reassemble the keyboard

Clean a Keyboard Step 20

Step 11. Press the halves of the keyboard firmly together, also in the middle, if it is not secured there, the keys will not work properly

Clean a Keyboard Step 21

Step 12. Connect your keyboard back to your PC, turn on the computer and check if all keys are working properly

Clean a Keyboard Final

Step 13. Done


  • Leave the space bar in place if necessary. This large key is difficult to remove and can break easily.
  • It works differently with laptops. Usually it is not necessary to remove the keys. A cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol and a can of compressed air should be enough to clean the keyboard.
  • The keys on a laptop are difficult to remove and put back, especially the spacebar and the Enter key. With a laptop you run the risk of damaging the keys or something else.
  • Take a picture of your keyboard before you remove the keys so that you can easily see which key belongs where.
  • If you didn't take a photo and you don't remember where the keys belong, you can copy the location of the keys on the onscreen keyboard. Start your computer and look for the on-screen keyboard.
  • You can also put all the keys in a laundry bag (the kind you can use to wash your socks with) and put them in the washing machine, bag and all, with your clothes. Clean the empty keyboard with the vacuum cleaner and a damp cloth.
  • Some people put the entire keyboard in the dishwasher. However, this is not without risk, you can irreparably damage the keyboard. In any case, let the keyboard dry thoroughly before using it again. Never put a wireless keyboard in the dishwasher.
  • An alternative to a compressed air aerosol can is a hair dryer. The heat is not a problem.


  • Once you have removed the keys, keep them away from small children and pets. They can choke on it.
  • Do not inhale the air coming out of the compressed air aerosol. The contents are toxic and very harmful to health.
  • Never hold the aerosol upside down. Then the liquid enters the atomizer and that damages the keyboard. Only use the aerosol in a well-ventilated area.
  • If you're using rice to absorb moisture, be careful not to let small grains of rice get into the keyboard.

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